Quality Leadership Matters Blog


Common Reading on Detroit

November 9th, 2016 by


This year the Plenum Representatives are engaging in a first-ever “Book Talk” and we wanted to invite the rest of the UCEA community to join us in this common reading!

In an effort to heighten awareness of our Host City, Detroit, we are reading “Detroit: An American Autopsy,” by Pulitzer-winning Charlie LeDuff. This book offers one perspective on the “rise and fall” – and rise, again – of one of America’s greatest cities. Our hope was that this joint reading would provide a detailed context of the forces at work in Detroit and give us a common starting point to discuss these forces and their implications.

LeDuff, at the time a reporter for the Detroit News, used his journalistic lens to explore the multiple histories of Detroit and sought to understand how those shape the lives of Detroit residents today. Published in 2013, the book has received critical acclaim (see for example: New York Times Book Review http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/books/review/detroit-an-american-autopsy-by-charlie-leduff.html , NPR http://www.npr.org/2013/02/13/171822784/dry-bones-hardly-theres-still-life-in-detroit , or Boston Globe https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/2013/02/04/book-review-detroit-american-autopsy-charlie-leduff/87oCF9alUtImLsc4kllfZO/story.html ). Le Duff also has a series, “Americans with Charlie LeDuff” that explores other issues in Detroit and Michigan (https://www.youtube.com/user/AmericanswithLeDuff ).

Although the book is limited in that it is written from a single individual’s perspective and for a specific audience, we hope it will provide a sense of some of the issues and agendas that have impacted the city over its distant and recent history.

The Plenum will be discussing this book and the implications for other cities, urban education, and leadership preparation. We encourage you to read the book and do the same! 

Is your interest peaked? Other books to consider reading about Detroit:The Origins of the Urban Decline  by Thomas Sugrue, Detroit: A Biography by Martelle, Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story by D. Maraniss, Detroit City is the Place to be – by Binelli

We look forward to seeing everyone in Detroit!

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